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Old 07-23-2016, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
5,787 posts, read 4,503,756 times
Reputation: 10987

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Anyone who believes this forum is divided into two camps -- the True Believers and the Total Skeptics -- either hasn't been reading it for very long, hasn't been paying attention, or has little appreciation for nuanced beliefs.

True Believers are on one end of the spectrum. If it's woo, they're in. Given a choice between a rational explanation for a phenomenon and a woo explanation, they'll choose the woo every time. They view the Total Skeptics as their opponents, and as tools and dupes of the Evil Scientists whose goal seems to be to destroy any scraps of wonder in the world. They see their enemies, the Total Skeptics, as intruders and interlopers in this forum and view the forum as a private support group for devotees of woo in all its forms. More than once

Total Skeptics are at the other end of the spectrum. They're radical materialists, and find anyone who believes in anything woo as a dangerous fool. Everything has a rational explanation. Religion of any kind, whether traditional or New Age, is the enemy of rationalism and the world would be better off without it. Their presence in this forum is their small contribution to crushing irrational beliefs that have caused so much evil in the world. They're not to be confused with the Woo Baiters, who are classic internet trolls whose purpose here seems to be to just stir up s__t and enjoy the chaos that results.

What seems to get lost in the shuffle are the large numbers of readers and posters here who don't fit in either camp (and I think there are those who have their own reasons for wanting to place people in one of two binary buckets). Both the True Believers and Total Skeptics have a difficult time with these in-betweeners; to resolve cognitive dissonance, the TBs and TSs will do whatever they can in their heads to place everyone in one of these two camps. You're either for us, or against us. Here are a few of the additional positions regarding the unexplained I've seen here and elsewhere over the years:
  • Those who believe there's something to paranormal phenomena but it's likely due to unknown natural principles that science has yet to discover.
  • Those who believe some accounts of the unknown have merit and want to apply rational analysis to filter out the "noise" and false reports.
  • Those who are religious and want to apply the belief systems of their religions to explain everything paranormal as demonic or divine.
  • Those who have had experiences of the unexplained and are looking for reason to deny them
  • Those who are interested in reports of the unexplained as sociological, cultural, or psychological phenomena.
  • Those who find stories of the unexplained enjoyable for the frisson of fear or wonder they give.

There are probably many other motives for people posting here -- and many posters who are neither TBs nor TSs will fit into multiple "camps" on the list above (I certainly do). So how does everyone get along? I don't know that there's a good answer. Ground rules can go only so far; we all bear a certain responsibility for what happens here.
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
28,029 posts, read 13,142,664 times
Reputation: 26774
I don't know if my post last night prompted this thread, but I certainly do not believe the forum is split into two camps, particularly since there are some things I believe, and many more, I do not. I know most people posting fall in that category, as well.

Having said that, I have seen people who post simply to poke at the people who believe in something and that's what I referenced when I said it's a practice that remains the biggest mystery of all, to me.

Last edited by MPowering1; 07-23-2016 at 10:12 AM..
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
5,787 posts, read 4,503,756 times
Reputation: 10987
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
I don't know if my post last night prompted this thread, but I certainly do not believe the forum is split into two camps, particularly since there are some things I believe, and many more, I do not. I know most people posting fall in that category, as well.

Having said that, I have seen people who post simply to poke at the people who believe in something and that's what I referenced when I said it's a practice that remains the biggest mystery of all, to me.
That would be my Woo Baiter category, I believe. Trolls is trolls.

I do think based on what I've seen that there are a sizable number of folks here who see it as divided in two camps. When I've tried to explain my more nuanced position, I've been told a number of times that I was wrong -- essentially that my position was impossible, that I had to be one or the other (cognitive dissonance, anyone?). That's the real origin of the post. It might have been prompted by your thread, but it certainly wasn't directed at you.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:02 PM
 
13,619 posts, read 22,251,933 times
Reputation: 24424
This is why I have such issues with "proof". What's proof to one is piffle to another. How can you prove some of this stuff?

All that screaming for proof does in my eyes is cause anger and venom. Seen it, infracted it, banned it. Especially in a forum setting. Any proof given will be immediately dismissed as photoshopped, or other fakery, or worse yet, since it's not a scientific experiment, can't be replicated.

But I don't get that. For instance,I have the ability to make a perfectly fitted couture designer dress. I've done it. If you've never sewn before, you won't be able to. It doesn't mean that dress doesn't exist, because you can't do it. It doesn't mean you're less than me, because I know how to do this. It was a skill that was important to me, and now it's not as important. I love quilting, but occasionally I get the itch again to garment sew. I'm off topic. Once again, no coffee.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:46 PM
 
757 posts, read 445,622 times
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I think as a person feels more secure in their own
position, whatever that may be, the less threatened
they'll be in the face of opposing views, and therefore the
less likely they'll approach it with the kind of venom that
generates petty back-and-forth exchange.

The forum also has Guidelines which address how to go
about these things.

While I think it's healthy to examine something first
before jumping to conclusions as to whether its
paranormal or just perinormal, I chalk any overkill in
either direction up to fear, whether it's fear that there's
nothing beyond the material world, or fear that there's
something beyond the material world.


-
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
28,029 posts, read 13,142,664 times
Reputation: 26774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasily View Post
That would be my Woo Baiter category, I believe. Trolls is trolls.

I do think based on what I've seen that there are a sizable number of folks here who see it as divided in two camps. When I've tried to explain my more nuanced position, I've been told a number of times that I was wrong -- essentially that my position was impossible, that I had to be one or the other (cognitive dissonance, anyone?). That's the real origin of the post. It might have been prompted by your thread, but it certainly wasn't directed at you.
It sounds like those arguing with you aren't paying attention to what people post.

Some believe in communicating with people on the other side. They believe in mediums.
Some believe in angels.
Some believe in reincarnation.
Some believe they're seeing orbs in photos and videos.
Some believe in an afterlife.
Some believe in UFO's.
Some believe people from other planets live among us.
Some believe in aura's.
Some believe in indigo children.
Some believe in demons.
Some believe in the Mandela effect.
Some believe we live in parallel universes.
Some believe it's important to use sage to clear bad energy from spaces.
Some believe in time travel.
And then there is astrology, numerology, pendulums, crystals, dousing, muscle testing, ETC.

Is there anyone who believes in all of the above? I think those people are a rarity, if they exist at all.
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
28,029 posts, read 13,142,664 times
Reputation: 26774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
This is why I have such issues with "proof". What's proof to one is piffle to another. How can you prove some of this stuff?

All that screaming for proof does in my eyes is cause anger and venom. Seen it, infracted it, banned it. Especially in a forum setting. Any proof given will be immediately dismissed as photoshopped, or other fakery, or worse yet, since it's not a scientific experiment, can't be replicated.

But I don't get that. For instance,I have the ability to make a perfectly fitted couture designer dress. I've done it. If you've never sewn before, you won't be able to. It doesn't mean that dress doesn't exist, because you can't do it. It doesn't mean you're less than me, because I know how to do this. It was a skill that was important to me, and now it's not as important. I love quilting, but occasionally I get the itch again to garment sew. I'm off topic. Once again, no coffee.
Tallysmom - living proof angels DO exist!
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:50 PM
 
17,608 posts, read 8,023,150 times
Reputation: 14346
If I see or hear something that is unusual, I first look for any rational explanations. For example, something seems to disappear from the house---I will search for it by tracing my steps. If nothing turns up, I start to look at illogical spots where something might have absentmindedly been placed. If after all that, nothing turns up, then it is a mystery. It's much like the story I've told before in this forum how my mother dropped an item on the bedroom floor and couldn't find it again, despite searching the room---only to have it show up in the middle of the bed when they came home after going out to dinner.
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:20 PM
 
757 posts, read 445,622 times
Reputation: 1502
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
It sounds like those arguing with you aren't paying attention to what people post.
I've wondered about this myself.

I've noticed on more than one occasion where a skeptic
will chime in, posting to nobody in particular, declaring
their skepticism, all the while completely ignoring specific
accounts in that same thread. Such posts seem to dodge
the specifics; it's more of a drive-by dismissal of any and
all that's paranormal. It's as though they don't want to
have to stop long enough to really think about it because
it's unsettling. Which yeah, sometimes it can be, no
doubt.


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Old 07-23-2016, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
5,787 posts, read 4,503,756 times
Reputation: 10987
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
It sounds like those arguing with you aren't paying attention to what people post. ...

Is there anyone who believes in all of the above? I think those people are a rarity, if they exist at all.
That's an interesting question. The radical postmodernist would reject all "totalizing narratives" and say that there is no ultimate truth, all truth is local. That's the origin of the "it's true for me" sort of statement you hear people make sometimes: we've all been affected by the postmodernist academic project over the decades since WW2.

So for a postmodernist, I would say, yes, it would be possible to believe all of these things are true. Or none of them are true. Or some of them are true. The postmodernist would say, it doesn't matter which you choose: choose one of these beliefs, or multiple ones. Or don't choose any.

Examples of the totalizing narratives one runs into frequently in this forum (and outside it) are: religion and science. The postmodernist would say both of these are the source of much of human misery; postmodernism as I understand it was born out of the horror engendered by the great killings and cruelties of the 20th century -- all of them performed in the name of a totalizing narrative: Nazism, Communism, Maoism, and so on. The postmodernist would similarly point to the cruelty done in the name of scientific progress and reject skepticism, as Deepak Chopra has done here:

The Perils Of Skepticism

Tallysmom asked: "how can you prove some of this stuff?" Another excellent question. I used to have a textbook from my undergrad days in the early 1970s that had the address of the Rhine Institute in Durham NC written on the flyleaf. I had heard about them in those long ago days, and toyed with the idea of pursuing graduate study in parapsychology at Duke. The whole point of doing that was proof: finding data that corroborates some of the woo experiences I myself had had in years past. Around the same time period, I became very interested in cryptozoology as well as ufology. People in all these fields have indeed attempted to prove some of this stuff. Part of that has involved analysis of reports and photos and the like to determine whether there are alternate explanations for them. It's not attacking the person who made the report or photo, it's attempting to get to the truth. What we're left with when all the misinterpretations of the data and outright fakery is filtered out with is: a mystery. And that I think is what this forum is all about, at least for me -- finding the enduring mysteries in a sea of noise.
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